Transneft President Nikolai Tokarev allegedly met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when they were KGB agents in former East Germany
Nikolai Tokarev, president of Russian state-controlled pipeline operator Transneft, held talks in the Czech Republic on Thursday with Czech state-owned pipeline operator Mero in Kralupy nad Vltavou, North Bohemia. Tokarev is considered the fourth most-powerful man in Russia after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev, and Gazprom boss Alexei Miller.
“It was a courtesy meeting based on the memorandum on cooperation between the companies Mero and Transneft. We just exchanged information about oil deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline; Tokarev didn’t come with any new information,” Libor Lukášek, Mero’s strategic development director and board member, told Czech Position.
Transneft operates the world’s largest oil pipeline network in the world, the Russian section of the Druzhba pipeline. Around 70 percent of oil consumed in the Czech Republic is delivered via Druzhba. Transneft decides what volumes of oil foreign consumers receive.
‘We just exchanged information about oil deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline; Tokarev didn’t come with any new information.’
Tokarev, a close associate of Putin, became president of Transneft in 2007 and member of the board of state-controlled Russian oil firm Rosneft in 2009. From 2000 to 2007, Tokarev was the CEO of Zarubezhneft, which explores and drills for oil outside Russia.
According to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Tokarev and Putin became acquainted back in the Soviet era when they were both agents for the Soviet secret service the KGB in the former East Germany (GDR).
Following the meeting with Mero’s top management in Kralupy nad Vlatavou, where one of the country’s two major refineries is located, it was not clear whether Tokarev had any further engagements in the Czech Republic.
Czech Position was the first source to report that Tokarev was to visit the Czech Republic two weeks prior to his arrival. At the time the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO), under whose jurisdiction Mero falls, and the Russian Embassy in Prague said they had no knowledge of Tokarev’s planned visit.